BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- China has set a target of completing a space mission of "100 rockets, 100 satellites" during the five years between 2011 and 2015, a senior space executive said Saturday.
On average, China will complete about 20 launch missions each year before 2015, said Zhang Jianheng, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC).
"The densely arranged launch missions and flight tests have posed an unprecedented challenge to the country's space program," Zhang, a deputy to the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing parliamentary session that started on Monday.
According to Zhang, China launched 19 satellites, a target orbiter Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 spacecraft with 19 Long March rockets last year, a record high for China's space program in launch numbers.
China has surpassed the United States, which completed 18 launches in 2011, to become the world's No. 2 in terms of launch numbers following Russia's 36 launches, Zhang said.
In 2012, China has planned 30 satellite launches with 21 rockets, including the launch of Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which is scheduled to carry out China's first manned space rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1 between June and August.
Zhang said CASC raked in 100 billion yuan (15.87 billion U.S. dollars) in operating income in 2011, bringing the company's total assets to more than 200 billion yuan.
He said the company will keep a growth rate of about 20 percent annually and its operating income is expected to hit 250 billion yuan by the year 2015.